ANOTHER MYTH SHATTERED
William Saletan and Ben Jacobs debunk Carol Mosely-Braun’s only significant accomplishment as a Senator, the denial of Congressional recognition for the United Daughters of the Confederacy’s symbol featuring the Stars and Bars:
Braun did awaken the otherwise all-white Senate to the potential offensiveness of the insignia. But the awakening entailed no parliamentary brilliance, no “lone valiant stand,” no going “to the mat,” and no “swaying.” The renewal of the insignia patent was attached as a minor amendment by Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., to a national service bill. The amendment passed largely because senators weren’t paying close attention to what they were voting on. In the words of Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, “I walked on the floor today, without having the slightest idea what the issue was, I was told, as were many Republican senators, this is a Republican amendment. . . .I quickly realized, after the motion to table had failed, that a large number of Republicans did not realize the greater implications of what had just happened.” Once Braun got them to focus on the content of the amendment, they switched.
What exactly did Braun accomplish? The insignia was never changed. It no longer has the special honor of a congressional design patent, but it’s hard to see what effect, if any, this has had on black or white Americans.